Coronavirus: What's happening to the beer left in pubs?

Discussion in 'COVID-19' started by AZBeerDude72, Apr 13, 2020.

  1. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (2,012) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
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    I thought this was interesting to read, see link below for article, cheers all.

    "Fifty million pints - give or take.
    That's the amount of beer expected to go unused in barrels if pubs remain closed into the summer because of coronavirus"

    "Mr Stainer estimates the UK's 39,000 pubs have, on average, 15 barrels in their cellar at any given time. Most are kegs containing 11 gallons (88 pints) each - although many real ales come in nine-gallon (72-pint) casks. The best-before dates on pasteurised beer - including most lagers - are usually three to four months after delivery."

    "Supermarket alcohol sales increased by more than a fifth last month as pubs - along with cafes and restaurants - closed on 20 March"

    "Many breweries and distributors have offered to take back barrels at no charge once the lockdown is over, taking some of the financial pressure off landlords."
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  2. milkshakebeersucks

    milkshakebeersucks Initiate (179) Feb 10, 2020 Maryland

    The freshness of beers in pubs will undoubtedly be a concern when things get back to near normal. While many places have stayed open and sell draft beer 'to-go', one cannot know for sure what remains and will have to trust the proprietors. And since they will be under a lot of pressure to return to a level of profitability, freshness might be a secondary consideration for them. Consider the tap lines, too, and what may have accumulated there and whether they have been cleaned. Let's just say 'caveat emptor'.
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  3. HouseofWortship

    HouseofWortship Crusader (797) May 3, 2016 Illinois

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  4. jhavs

    jhavs Poo-Bah (1,898) Apr 16, 2015 New Hampshire
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    Pubs/restaurants all selling the beer to go or delivery in my area.
  5. WildernessMonk

    WildernessMonk Aspirant (271) Feb 13, 2016 Massachusetts

    Here in Boston the bars/restaurants have been closed since early March. Just recently the Governor allowed for restaurants to sell alcohol along with the take out only service. The economic devastation from the government imposed lock down to bars and restaurants will be hard to overcome. Sadly, the cure is worse than the disease. I know that is not a popular thing to say but it is true.
  6. slander

    slander Poo-Bah (2,194) Nov 5, 2001 New York
    Moderator Society

    Call 4 friends and have them each call 4 friends who aren't you or the other friends you called.
    Gather all their growlers and those of the friends they called.
    Pick them up and deliver them to bars who can sell through their beer on tap (and the new struggling breweries that opened and don't own canning lines and have long since gone through all the glass they had and can't get more).
    And then fill your last 3 growlers there.
    And then encourage other people to do so.
  7. HouseofWortship

    HouseofWortship Crusader (797) May 3, 2016 Illinois

    Sounds like a pyramid scheme.
  8. Prince_Casual

    Prince_Casual Disciple (348) Nov 3, 2012 District of Columbia

    Cold beer in a keg is remarkably hardy (bottles at room temp, not so much)

    When I worked at a bar we acquired Double Jack 1/2 barrels and when I came in the next day noticed (and was upset) that they were 6 months old. The salesman said if they were off he'd pick them up... they were better than any Double Jack bottle I had gotten on the East Coast in months - if not ever.

    Hopefully "serious" beer places unhooked kegs from the line, but either way, the beer is suspended in total darkness, airtight, and cold... I think they'll be alright for a few months
  9. rugene

    rugene Aspirant (203) Mar 2, 2015 Quebec (Canada)

    I hate to think that some can waste this supreme nectar-like beer. Here in Quebec, they have to throw away some milk. If I could I would go on every brewery buy this before it turns on to vinegar or something of that nature
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  10. ColdOne

    ColdOne Aspirant (258) Jan 19, 2013 New York

    There was an interesting conversation about this on Auggie Carton's podcast (between him and Chief from Industrial Arts). The word seems to be that untapped kegs at bars stand a better chance, but that they plan to swap out the tapped kegs for fresh product once the world opens up again. This creates goodwill and also ensures quality control.

    I think that was Auggie's plan.
  11. errantnight

    errantnight Savant (933) Jul 7, 2005 District of Columbia

    You saying it’s true doesn’t make it true.
  12. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (2,012) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    They should set up tents for all the front line workers and offer them FREE unlimited beer for when they are off hours. I am sure they all could use a few drinks at the end of their day.
  13. Giantspace

    Giantspace Crusader (798) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Most bars around here wont fill anything but new glass or their crowler.

  14. billandsuz

    billandsuz Devotee (436) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    Yeah... no.

    Tapped or untapped the keg does not care. It's not like it gets stale faster once the keg is tapped. If the keg is kept cold it does not matter one bit, both kegs would degrade the same. This is a fact so I am surprised a pro brewer would drop that. Chief is on top of his game.

    However the brewer may be concerned with over/under carbonation which is possible if the keg sits on the wrong psi for too long, and that is a separate issue entirely.

    Going to be lots of stale beer once we get back to the show.
    Basically the healthy brewers will eat a lot of sold beer and make it right, the ones hanging on by a string or the ones who never really cared all that much will suffer and their handles will get swallowed by the more aggressive brewers and distributors.

    It is going to be a real shit show.

  15. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (6,595) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    Same here in pdx Oregon. I've tried bringing my own 64 ounce and 32 ounce growlers, just to save the bar some money (a lot of places are providing complimentary glass or crowlers). Every place I've gone, the bar has refused to fill them.
  16. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,989) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Local AB house (also Firestone-Walker/Ommegang/Boulevard, Brooklyn, Victory, etc.) in Central Jersey, Ritchie & Page, sent a notice to their on-premise customers, which included these statements about picking up full kegs for credit:
  17. augiecarton

    augiecarton Initiate (196) Oct 22, 2010 New Jersey

    the discussion was per beer in general and time/length of shut down considering all factors including over carb.
    in a nutshell the convo went: if this is a couple weeks no big deal, after about 6-8 weeks of a tapped keg standing untouched, you'd need to consider carb levels and probably safest to just swap those out, and that out past a 12 or so weeks depending on style and storage full swapping of all product would need to be planned for.
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  18. HouseofWortship

    HouseofWortship Crusader (797) May 3, 2016 Illinois

    In the event the pandemic is just declared over and bars aren't slowly opened, could we see the largest celebrations since the end of WW2?
    Bitterbill likes this.
  19. slander

    slander Poo-Bah (2,194) Nov 5, 2001 New York
    Moderator Society

    If it's law that they can only fill their own glass, then the law is the law (although it should be relaxed in this time of hardship).
    If it's the establishment's position that they only fill their own glass, then they just burnt the sale.

    And when they can't source crowlers anymore, that'll be another story.
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  20. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,163) Sep 24, 2007 Montenegro
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    It's a sanitation issue. WA and OR have the most lenient definitions of "growlers" (any sealable container. Any. An old coke bottle. A Nalgene bottle. Whatever.) and no brewery is filling anything brought in by customers right now. There's just no way to guarantee the cleanliness levels of outside glass.
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  21. slander

    slander Poo-Bah (2,194) Nov 5, 2001 New York
    Moderator Society

    Bars (that need to run through the beer in their line). Was not talking about breweries...
  22. eppCOS

    eppCOS Meyvn (1,269) Jun 27, 2015 Colorado

    I'll be waiting for that $1 draft pint special when my local re-opens. Seriously, it's gonna be ugly, like... NERO (umm... Caligula?) Roman Empire ugly.
    #22 eppCOS, Apr 21, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2020
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  23. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,163) Sep 24, 2007 Montenegro
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    We were talking about filling growlers, and why places aren't filling outside growlers now. And, breweries have the same issues as bars, just magnified, because they have more beer in kegs/tanks than bars do.
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  24. slander

    slander Poo-Bah (2,194) Nov 5, 2001 New York
    Moderator Society

    Am talking specifically about bars filling growlers to clear their lines.
  25. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,163) Sep 24, 2007 Montenegro
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    Doesn't change the fact that no place is filling outside growlers.
  26. Tripel_Threat

    Tripel_Threat Poo-Bah (2,717) Jun 29, 2014 Michigan
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  27. Premo88

    Premo88 Poo-Bah (1,884) Jun 6, 2010 Texas

    Cask ale is going to die on the vine during this thing — at least the stuff already shipped to the pubs. Hopefully CAMRA is strong enough and the bounce back is big enough that we don't lose cask ale forever, but I wouldn't rule it out completely. I have 100% worry over real ale compared to 0% for beer in general.
    unlikelyspiderperson likes this.
  28. Giantspace

    Giantspace Crusader (798) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    PA can fill any growler they want And most do. Not filling them now is part of being safe for employees.

    beertunes likes this.
  29. Giantspace

    Giantspace Crusader (798) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Sure we would and then 3 weeks later the virus would be back ten fold.

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  30. BrewsOverHoes

    BrewsOverHoes Savant (948) Nov 17, 2013 Georgia
    Society Trader

    Don’t know if I’m considered a back of the line worker, as a mortician? But I’m all for free beer.
  31. BrewsOverHoes

    BrewsOverHoes Savant (948) Nov 17, 2013 Georgia
    Society Trader

    That’s what I worried about here. People are going to flood into certain spaces, and then a second wave of Covid is going to hit hard.
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  32. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (2,012) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
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    I think you would qualify :wink:
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  33. HouseofWortship

    HouseofWortship Crusader (797) May 3, 2016 Illinois

    It's good to see someone rooting for losing business in their industry for a change!
  34. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (6,595) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    Interesting viewpoint. So far, I haven't seen anyone happy with the economic downturn sheltering in place has caused (it's been a disaster for the local economy here in PDX). However, a majority of people do seem to feel that it's better than the alternative (increased infection rates, increased instances of severe illness and almost assured increases in the death rate). My impression, based on what I've seen locally and on a national level, is that sheltering in place has had a very positive influence in reducing the number of individuals infected with the virus and the mortality rate (even though both continue to be higher than I'd like to see). So as much as I'm extremely distressed by the impact sheltering in place is having on our economy, I feel it's worth it in the short term in order to stem the infection rate and the effect it's having on the health of so many people in our country.

    Of course that's just my opinion, and I'm aware that there is a minority opinion that seems to feel the cost of curtailing the pandemic isn't worth the impact it's having on our economy, and that a few extra deaths here and there is a small price to pay to keep our economy afloat.
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  35. slander

    slander Poo-Bah (2,194) Nov 5, 2001 New York
    Moderator Society

    It's not a fact, it's your opinion.
    Again, the laws and/or overall handling of the situation may be different in your market as compared to mine.
    In my market, we are still selling kegs to beer stores who convert them to growler as well as having bars out here that are clearing their lines through growler sales for walk ins with their own glass.
    This below, from an email received today from one of our local bottle shops/growler fill places...


    Please be kind and wash your growlers before coming to get a growler fill. For the health and safety or our staff we will not handle dirty growlers.
  36. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,163) Sep 24, 2007 Montenegro
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    That would be a place I wouldn't get a fill from. Their greed is more important than their customers health.

    Hell, customers are pretty damn slack about cleaning growlers during "normal" times, it's foolish of a business to trust them with sanitation now.

    And, again, it's not about laws. As I mentioned, legally, any sealable container can be used as a growler around here, and many are. Right now, places that would fill a used coke bottle, are only filling new glass. Why? Sanitation issues during a health crises. Maybe this is why my home state of NY is leading in deaths lately.
  37. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (6,595) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    Just to change the subject somewhat...

    The places that have told me they won't fill a growler always cite sanitation issues, which I guess I find a bit puzzling. I completely agree with your observation about not relying on customers to properly clean their own growler, but I'm not sure I understand why that should matter. Plenty of places do a very thorough cleansing and rinse of growlers before filling them, and wear protective gloves and garments while doing a fill. My feeling is that at that point, how would I be any better protected if I got my beer in new glassware?

    To add to my confusion... the other day I brought back a 32 ounce mason jar I obtained at Saraveza. The bartender at Saraveza said he wouldn't refill it (or any of the growlers I brought with me), but planned to give it a thorough cleaning and then re-use it. I was fine with that, but again, the thought crossed my mind "why can't you just give it a thorough hot rinse right now, and just re-use the glassware here and now."

    If it's a liability issue, I would have been happy to sign some sort of waiver of liability form, noting that I had brought in my own personal jar, and would hold the bar blameless if I contracted the virus from re-use of my glassware. I would have to trust the bar to employ all possible sanitation protections in filling my jar, but then that's the case anyway when I'm asking them to fill a new jar for me, straight from the tap (and right in front of me).

    In short... I is confused.
  38. usctrojan415

    usctrojan415 Initiate (23) Mar 28, 2016 California

    1) I only visit places that clean their lines.

    2) Many bars are filling up mason jars or using crowler machines here in SF.
    unlikelyspiderperson likes this.
  39. CB_Michigan

    CB_Michigan Initiate (137) Sep 4, 2014 Illinois

    I suspect that many breweries are using new glassware to limit potential liability. If you bring in a growler with some trace of coronoavirus, a brewery can't definitively say that they eliminated it and prevented transfer onto their equipment or other surfaces.

    Here's what Five Star Chemicals has to say:
    "As you can imagine, many have reached out in regard to the killing capabilities of our products in relation to COVID-19. Efficacy of Star San, Saniclean, and IO-Star have only been tested against a broad range of bacteria so we cannot make any virucidal claims. None of our products have been tested to kill COVID-19 specifically."

    Yeah, but are you willing to accept liability for people who come in after you? Say the bartender isn't able to kill all traces of coronavirus and some of it goes from your growler to the bartender's glove to the box of growler caps. Then other customers, new glass or not, wind up being put at risk.
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  40. drocpsu

    drocpsu Initiate (184) Dec 25, 2006 New Hampshire

    I get the health risk of someone bringing in contaminated glass for a growler fill and I don’t mind them giving out new glass every time. I just wish there was a way to do glass drop-offs/Returns to give back the growlers to the breweries so they could re-use them. Even if they just had a separated space to let them sit and decontaminate for a few days/week before re-cleaning and re-using them. Would save them money, be more environmentally friendly, and reduce growler clutter in my own home.